David N-Dorrington:
A Calendar of Shadows

Richmond Gallery, Richmond
February 19 - March 23

26 May (1997),
alkyd on board

WORKING IN ONLY a six-foot square studio on an old fishing float home, David N-Dorrington's paintings are necessarily small: from two inches to twelve inches in size.

N-Dorrington nevertheless manages to pack an incredible amount of detail into the tiny, surrealistic images. For example, in less than two inches of space, N-Dorrington composes a seaside landscape with a red-roofed hut and a large seagull-as-sailboat figure. His high-contrast human beings and houses are perilously overshadowed by odd creatures resembling dodos, gulls, frogs or mice. At the risk of being quaint, the animals are also mysteriously aloof.

N-Dorrington likens his paintings to "small theatres". The actors appear caught out of context, like familiar mythic forms in unfamiliar settings. His disquieting sense of scale, projected spaces and strong stage lighting work small magic to draw the viewer into impossible narratives.

© Mia Johnson